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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Obama gets praise from Netanyahu

In light of all the talk about President Obama's alleged problems with Jewish voters, it's interesting to note that he won praise recently from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and Obama, who have had a frosty relationship, worked together as Egyptian protesters attacked the Israeli Embassy in Cairo last week.

"I would like to express my gratitude to the president of the United States, Barack Obama," Netanyahu said. "I asked for his help. This was a decisive and fateful moment. He said, 'I will do everything I can.' And so he did. He used every considerable means and influence of the United States to help us. We owe him a special measure of gratitude."

"This attests to the strong alliance between Israel and the United States," the Israeli leader said. "This alliance between Israel and the United States is especially important in these times of political storms and upheavals in the Middle East."

Netanyahu's praise -- which didn't receive a lot of publicity -- comes amid reports that Jewish voters are turning against Obama, a claim bolstered by last night's Democratic defeat in a largely Jewish congressional district in New York City.

Former New York City mayor Ed Koch said the congressional win by Republican Bob Turner is "a message to President Obama that he cannot throw Israel under a bus with impunity."

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, former George W. Bush administration official Dan Senor said Obama "has built the most consistently one-sided diplomatic record against Israel of any American president in generations."

Senor called the New York defeat a preview of what could happen to Obama "with a demographic group that voted overwhelmingly for him in 2008."

"And it could affect the electoral map, given the battleground states -- such as Florida and Pennsylvania -- with significant Jewish populations," Senor wrote.

Not so fast, said National Jewish Democratic Council President and CEO David A. Harris.
In the New York congressional race, Harris cited the bad economy and the problems that forced the resignation of the previous representative, Anthony Weiner.

"One thing we know beyond the shadow of a doubt is that this election was about many things, but not Israel," Harris said. "As authoritative polling in the past four days demonstrated, only a tiny fraction of constituents -- 7% -- indicated that Middle East policy would drive their vote."